Photo by Elena Mirus
The Psychology and Mental Health Advocacy Club and Franciscan University Student Government organized a week of events and information booths on campus to raise awareness of mental health issues and the resources available to Franciscan students March 19-28.
The week started with a “Donut Extravaganza” outside Finnegan Fieldhouse on the feast day of St. Joseph.
The following Monday through Friday, March 22-26, the events took place during the day in the lower level of the J.C. Williams Center. The events included making affirmation boards, chalk drawing, balloons, do-it-yourself pinwheels, tea-tasting, origami and other activities.
“The goal of this mental health week was to put on events that were simple and fun and made students take (a few) minutes out of their day of studying and hard work to do something fun
and positive,” said junior Brian Ferrell, president of the Psychology and Mental Health Advocacy Club.
Some students responded well to the events. According to Ferrell, the tables received plenty of student visitors throughout the week and even ran out of supplies.
Freshman Annalyse Sanchez said, “I’m happy that the school is acknowledging that they care about our wellbeing. Everyone looked happier and when people saw the balloons, they’d ask about them and start a conversation. I think it’s great that those conversations can happen.”
One of the main takeaways was the ability to increase awareness of what the school has to offer.
“I heard about the counseling at the Wellness Center but I haven’t heard about what else the school has to offer,” Sanchez said.
Not all students saw the event as positive. Some argued against the budgetary spending and ability of the events to make an actual impact on students’ health.
Freshman Kavan Maloney said, “People are having mental health issues due to the amount of loans they are taking. It’s ignoring the issue entirely to say, ‘You’ve got mental issues because you’re in debt? Here, have a doughnut and a pinwheel.’ I’d like to see actual change.”
The final event of the week took place on Palm Sunday, March 28, when care packages containing sweets, snacks and mystery items were handed out to students.
The event will most likely continue in future years, Ferrell said. Students interested in joining the club can learn more by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or checking the Instagram account @fus_pmha.